Mushrooms on pizza, stuffed at parties, swimming in soup; mushrooms can be found on plenty-o-plates all over the world.
And for good reason.
Mushrooms are one of the most sustainable foods we can grow and eat and one of the healthiest.
These humble fungi are superfoods that rarely get the love and recognition they deserve.
What’s so great about the mighty mushroom?
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are naturally low in calories and sodium. They’re naturally fat, cholesterol, and gluten-free, and are loaded with beneficial nutrients!
Let’s take a look at what the mighty mushroom is good for:
Mushrooms are loaded with B vitamins galore, which help breakdown proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and provide energy to the body.
B vitamins also play an important role in nerve function.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and Niacin (Vitamin B3) are abundant in mushrooms. Riboflavin helps with hormone production and nerve function, and niacin is essential for red blood cell production.
Mushrooms are rich in trace minerals essential for cell function, such as:
- pantothenic acid
All of these antioxidant-rich minerals can help prevent inflammation in the body.
Mushrooms are relatively low in carbs and also pack a decent punch in the fiber department, so they have little impact on blood sugar levels and are great for dieters watching their sugar intake.
Immune System and Metabolism Support
Beta-glucans, which are found in the oyster, shitake, and split gill mushrooms, may stimulate immune response and help develop resistance to allergies. Beta-glucans may also play a role in the body’s breakdown and metabolism of fats and sugars.
A Sustainable Food Source
Mushrooms have been called “one of the most sustainably produced foods in the United States.”
The Mushroom Council reports that to produce one pound of mushrooms, you only need 1.8 gallons of water and 1 kilowatt of electricity. They are an excellent choice for small space growing as they don’t need much land.
One acre of land will yield up to 1 million pounds of mushrooms annually!
Mushrooms are grown in soil and beds of composted material. After harvest, they can easily be recycled into potting soil, contributing to improved soil health.
It’s the mushroom circle of life!
Delicious Mushroom Dishes
Now that we know how much mushrooms have to offer, how can we get more on our plates?
Mushrooms add a savory, umami flavor that makes dishes more satisfying and filling, so they’re not always appropriate to add to every flavor profile. If you’re just starting out with mushrooms, try adding them in these ways:
- Use mushrooms in place of tomatoes in mushroom bruschetta
- Sautee mushrooms with potatoes and top with a fried egg for a savory, hearty, breakfast
- Mix chopped sautéed mushrooms into meatball mix, taco mix, or chili
- Make mushrooms the star of a savory soup
- Add mushrooms to your avocado toast
- Slice raw button mushrooms and dip in dressing or hummus
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different kinds of mushrooms and ways of cooking them. You’ll quickly find new flavors and textures to love and easily inspire more fungi-filled healthy dishes in your kitchen!
Nutritious, delicious, plant-based, and sustainable… mushrooms certainly are magic, indeed.